Case of the Day: Derrevere v. Mirabella Foundation

The Case of the Day is Jon D. Derrevere, P.A. v. Mirabella Foundation (M.D. Fla. 2011). Derrevere was Mirabella’s lawyer. He had represented Mirabella, apparently a Panamanian entitiy,  in Naseer v. Mirabella Foundation, in which Mirabella was accused of a fraudulent transfer of real estate. Although Panama is a party to the Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory, Derrevere sought leave to serve Mirabella by alternate means under Rule 4(f)(2)(C). In particular, he sought to serve Mirabella by mail to Mirabella’s registered agent in Panama, which was a Panamanian law firm. (Panamanian law, as described in the opinion, is unclear. On the one hand, the law firm was “the registered agent … as designated in Mirabella’s formation papers.” On the other hand, “the Republic of Panama does not recognize a designation of a ‘Registered Agent for service of process purposes’ as here in the United States”). The court granted the motion, and when Mirabella failed to answer, the question was whether Derrevere was entitled to a default judgment.

The court held that since the Inter-American Convention was neither mandatory nor exclusive, service by mail on Mirabella’s agent was permissible as long as not forbidden by Panamanian law. Thus the service was proper and Derrevere was entitled to a default judgment.

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